Prince Charles marks Remembrance Day in Australia downpour


Sydney (dpa) – Prince Charles laid a wreath in pouring rain Wednesday at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to mark Remembrance Day.

Medals from his own military service clinking on his black suit, Charles and his wife Camilla stepped out from under an umbrella to walk solemnly to the marble memorial for the war dead and placed the wreath of poppies during the ceremony commemorating the moment the First World War ended 97 years ago.

The ceremony focused on the contribution of indigenous servicemen with a gallery of the memorial being named after Captain Reg Saunders, the first Aboriginal commissioned as an officer in the Australian Army.

November 11 also marks the 40th anniversary of Australia’s greatest political upheaval when the then Governor General, Sir John Kerr, the queen’s representative in Australia, dismissed the elected Labor government of Gough Whitlam and installed the Liberal Malcolm Fraser as prime minister.

Academics have suggested Queen Elizabeth in London, technically Australia’s head of state, was informed by Kerr of his intention to sack the elected government months before the surprise move.

Fraser was elected in a landslide three weeks later, a result which conservatives say verified Kerr’s action.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, an avowed republican, said he will ask the queen whether secret correspondence between Kerr and Buckingham Palace covering the dismissal can now be released.

Turnbull will hold talks with Prince Charles later Wednesday, but it is unknown whether they will discuss the dismissal of 1975.